Australia's country of origin labelling system for food
products is to be overhauled following agreement by State and
Territory Ministers for Consumer Affairs. Food offered for retail
sale in Australia will be required to be labelled more clearly to
inform consumers of the product's origins.
Under the changes, foods of Australian origin will be identified
by a kangaroo logo and a description of whether the food was grown,
produced or made in Australia. Products can be labelled as
"grown in" or "produced in" Australia where the
ingredients are Australian and major processing occurred in
Australia. A "Made in Australia" label can be used where
products underwent major processing in Australia, as distinct from
minor processing such as freezing or bottling. An optional
"Packed in Australia" label may also be used, but cannot
be accompanied by the kangaroo logo where the product is not of
The new system allows for a variety of standard phrases to
reflect the degree to which the product is of Australian origin.
Examples of permitted phrases include "Made in Australia from
less than 10 per cent Australian ingredients', "Grown in
France, Packed in Australia" and "Australian Macadamias
(shelled in Fiji)'. Manufacturers will be provided with some
flexibility as to the design of the labelling, with a style guide
and online-self assessment tool currently being developed.
The changes also introduce a requirement that products must be
labelled with a bar chart depicting the percentage of Australian
ingredients used in the manufacture of the product. Non-priority
foods (such as confectionery, biscuits, soft drinks and alcoholic
beverages) and wholly imported foods must be labelled with a
written statement of origin, but will not need to include a bar
chart and will be subject to less stringent label design
These changes will be imposed by a new Information Standard
under the Australian Consumer Law. The current country of origin
provisions, found in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code,
are set to be revoked.
The new labelling regime will commence on July 1, 2016, although
businesses will be given two years to comply with the new
requirements. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
has been provided with additional funding over five years to ensure
compliance with the new standards.
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